Mild manga spoilers ahead for The Promised Neverland.
The flowers featured prominently in the opening, ending, and major events of The Promised Neverland‘s premiere are of the series own creation. Called vidar, they’re a vampiric flower used to drain or absorb the blood of humans. As the blood drains, the flower becomes red (as shown in the opening). Emma discovers the flower growing from her dead sister Conny in the reveal that the children of The Promised Neverland are being raised as monster food — their orphanage a farm.
Flower language always catches my eye, and in my search for what flower was used in The Promised Neverland — its ubiquitousness throughout the first episode meant that its appearance was important — I spoiled myself on what it was. Never having read the manga, the circumstances of the flower are the only things outside of the first anime episode that I know. The rest of The Promised Neverland is a mystery to me. Presumably, it will follow Emma and Norman’s escape from the farm, hopefully with the rest of their orphanage siblings. The tone of the first episode tells me that not many of them are likely to make it.
These flowers reminded me of geraniums, and the geranium flower has a few interesting floral meanings that could tie into what we could see from The Promised Neverland. Perhaps a geranium served as inspiration for the vidar.
Geraniums have a variety of meanings, some conflicting, depending on color and type of geranium flower. Above all else, geraniums are a flower of stupidity and foolishness as well as kindness and gentility. Stupidity and foolishness are an interesting frame for the actions of the monsters in The Promised Neverland, if only because in raising these specific children, it seems that their intelligence and athletic abilities are prized. The measures in place to keep the children in line are simple — the framework of a loving orphanage is perfect. Of the trio of top students in Emma, Norman, and Ray, Ray is the only one who seems to suspect that anything about their lives is unsavory in any way. All of the other children love the orphanage, love each other, and love their “mom” caretaker. They lead a blissful life until they’re “adopted” like Conny and killed.
Yet, they have to be aware that something like Emma and Norman’s accidental discovery would be possible — presumably, more forceful measures are in place to take care of situations like theirs — because thinking otherwise is pure foolishness. It’s also foolish to think that they would be able to get away with this without some children finding out occasionally, despite what seems to be a fairly strong system in place. These ideas of foolishness and stupidity would apply more to the children’s handlers than the children themselves, although they too are foolish due to their naiveté. The system keeps them in line — just think of Emma’s answer to Norman and Ray when they study the “dangerous” fence, she doesn’t want to think outside of her authoritative figures who at that point in time are still beloved.
Geraniums are also a symbol of gentility, true friendship, and ingenuity. The vidar are flowers used for an awful purpose, to preserve human corpses, but are also very beautiful. If we apply this meaning to Emma it could be a symbol of how she will find hope or a life outside of the farm thanks to her strong friendships and intelligence. We already see that she is the most empathetic of the main trio. This makes her the most susceptible to the lies of “mom,” as seen in the first half of the episode, but Emma also pours her emotions into the idea of escaping once she comes to terms with what is actually going on.
Again, this is all speculation. The vidar flower caught my eye in The Promised Neverland and I found the geranium meanings interesting enough to post as a framework for the first episode.